Stressed students find out exam format just 24 hours before sitting it

The lecturer hopes to prevent cheating

A second year civil engineering student has been left “stressed” after discovering that she would be unable to return to previous questions in her online exams once she had passed them. The student claims that she was informed of this in an email from her lecturer just 24 hours before the exam was due to take place.

The email in question advises “a minute a mark” as a “reasonable guide” and claims that this way they will “still have 20 mins to play with”, despite the fact they are unable to return to questions within that extra time.

The lecturer, within another email, stated that the exam questions would appear in a random order. In response to this, the student commented: “I could in theory just open my exam to the hardest biggest question on there and be stuck on it for ages because I’m unable to skip to a different question and come back to it.”

In a further email, the lecturer admits that “the current situation is not ideal”, stating that their aims are simply to “make assessments as fair and balanced as possible.”

The email adds: “Is the issue of fairness that is behind the decision to make the questions random in order where possible and for students to not be able to return to past questions. This means it will be much harder for students to gain an unfair advantage by working with others.”

The Civil Engineering student commented: “I feel like the uni has handled this pretty horrendously because each school’s response has been ridiculously inconsistent.”

She added that “all the teaching we’ve had since lockdown started is old powerpoints sent by lecturers and the occasional online lecture video.

“Nobody is getting anywhere close to a reasonable amount of preparation for the exams let alone £9k worth.”

A Cardiff University spokesperson told The Tab Cardiff: “The online exams have been designed, based on feedback from staff and students, to be completely fair for everyone. Students are able to spend as much time as they like on specific questions within the overall time limit, which has been increased by 50 per cent to account for the current circumstances. Students were given several weeks’ notice of the format exams would take.

“If any student has concerns or issues regarding their exams or any other form of assessment, we would encourage them to speak directly with their programme director.”

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